Lot 640: ALS in French, one page both sides, 8.25 x 8.25, December 12, 1945. Letter to the French writer Henry de Montherlant. In full (translated): "Dear friend, you have taken quite a long holiday and I am happy about it, although I envy you. I have been taken by the intense activity of Paris for some unavoidable things, and after four months there I realized I had only been once to the Louvre Museum, three times to the movies, once on a stroll in the Bois de Boulogne forest, and that's it. That is why I have recovered with great pleasure the tranquility of Vence, its sun, and my daily walk. I am convinced that glory is only bearable when you are afar. Long live liberty! I wish you all the best for your success in your present work. You too have a beautiful destiny. I am completely reassured of your future. Would you come this winter down here? I would be very happy to see you. I will be back in Paris in spring. I hope to see you then. At the end of this month I will be 76, quite unfortunately my future is assured." In fine condition, with light creases and soiling.This period marks the beginning of Matisse's most productive period as an illustrator, which began in 1944 when he illustrated Montherlant's 'Pasiphae, Chant de Minos' with linocuts. Retelling the story of Pasiphae and the Minoan bull, the book features some of Matisse's most skillful printmaking. His discussion of the chaos in Paris and the exclamation "Long live liberty!" hold excellent double-meaning, recalling both the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation the year prior, and Matisse's own personal liberty, enjoying a carefree life in the south of France, far from his countless obligations in Paris. A scarce and beautifully penned letter with a desirable artistic association, as well as poignant commentary on the pitfalls of glory, old age, and his own approaching death—"I will be 76, quite unfortunately my future is assured."
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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